Democratic Debate #8 Open Thread

The debate is in Miami Fl. and co-sponsored by the Washington Post and Univision. It is available in English on CNN. It will start at 9 pm ET with hype at 8:45. Because Florida will suffer more than most from rising sea levels there’s expected to be a fair number of questions about Climate Change with Immigration also a hot topic.

In Sunday’s debate Sanders was widely viewed by pundits and comedians as the loser because he interrupted Clinton’s filibustering of his air time. It was his question and she interrupted first. The moderators did nothing which is hardly surprising given how far in the tank the legacy media is for Neoliberal Institutional D.C.

I think we know now who actually won that debate, on substance not style. Sander’s 20 point comeback is the single biggest upset in Primary history. As it turns out Michigan voters were far more interested in Clinton’s misrepresentations of Sanders’ positions on the Auto Bailout. As Charlie Pierce put it today-

I kept hearing from various members of the United Auto Workers that another factor may have been at work.

During Sunday night’s debate, HRC hit Bernie Sanders with something of a cheap shot—David Axelrod’s term, and mine—regarding the auto bailout. (In merciful brief, Sanders supported a bill bailing out the auto industry as a stand-alone measure. The auto bailout eventually got folded into the release of the second part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program and Sanders voted against that, on the grounds that the Wall Street bailout included in the TARP program lacked sufficient government oversight, which it did.) At the time, the argument was considered something of a well-timed coup for the Clinton campaign, blunting Sanders’ ferocious attacks on Clinton-era trade policies.

But, as I talked to more and more people around Flint, I got the sense that the resonance of the exchange was not what HRC and her campaign thought it would be. The UAW members I talked to clearly considered HRC’s use of the auto bailout against Sanders to be at best a half-truth, and a cynical attempt to win their support, and they were offended by what they saw as a glib attempt to turn the state’s economic devastation into a campaign weapon. These were people who watched the auto industry flee this city and this state, and they knew full well how close the country’s remaining auto industry came to falling apart completely in 2008 and 2009. They knew this issue because they’d lived it, and they saw through what the HRC campaign was trying to do with the issue. I have no data to support how decisive this feeling was in Tuesday night’s returns, but it seems to me to be one of the more interesting examples of unintended consequences that I’d heard in a while.

In any case, the focus of the campaign on both sides, at least for the next month, and in places like Ohio and Pennsylvania and (to a lesser extent) Missouri, is going to sharpen on the issues of globalization, trade and their assorted consequences. All of the candidates are going to have to sharpen their positions accordingly.

It’s still the economy stupid.

Clinton starts out 25 points ahead and is well known in Florida, but neither candidate has been there very much this cycle. Sanders is much closer in Missouri, Illinois, and Ohio and within the margin of error nationally.

Liveblogging will not be attempted by me.

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